Mental Health and Disability Redesign

This site was established to support the workgroups making recommendations to the Iowa Legislature for redesign of the mental health and disability system in Iowa. This page will be updated frequently with general information as well as with updates from each workgroup.

Letter from DHS Director Charles Palmer:

I am pleased to announce that the 2012 legislature has passed several important bills.

The first bill changed the term mental retardation to intellectual disabilities.

A second bill was passed that focused on the judicial system and persons with mental illness and substance abuse.The bill requires law enforcement officers to complete a course on mental health; allows residential care facilities to not admit an individual without approval of the facility; clarifies the definition of mental health professional; and creates an optional prescreening assessment program.

The "Redesign Policy" bill focuses on the implementation of redesigning of our state's mental health and disability services system. Iowa's community-based, person-centered system will provide:

  • Locally delivered services;

  • Regionally managed system; and

  • Statewide standards.

Moving forward, we will continue to work with everyone to begin transitioning into a system that will support all Iowans with disabilities to live safe, healthy and successful lives in their home and community.

This bi-partisan legislation is truly historic. I am grateful to the significant number of people who helped make this happen. This is a momentous step for Iowa and I am proud of the success we have achieved together.


Charles M. Palmer, Director

Iowa Department of Human Services

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